I just had a brainstorming session with one of my key clients about the integrated planning process — in essence, how demand and supply match up to ensure customer service (which is #1 for every client in today's environment), growth, and improved margins and cash flow. It almost doesn't matter the reason I come into a client — and the reasons can be wide ranging — there is always opportunity to improve the integrated planning process, get everyone on one page with clarity and sync up demand with supply. It sounds much easier to do than it is in reality. Yet it is vital!
Some of the results I've seen with this focus include the following: 1) Improved service levels from the low 60%'s to the high 90%'s. 2) Reduced lead times by 30-70%. 3) Reduced inventory levels by 30-60% while maintaining service levels. 4) Improved margins and reduced costs substantially — by millions of dollars, 5-20% and so on. 5) Improved employee engagement — probably the most important of all as happy employees not only ensure happy customers but they also are much more likely to be innovative in growing the business with new products, increasing margins, etc.
One tip to implement this week:
The good news is that there is a LOT you can do this week to improve your integrated planning process. If you are a leader, simply ask questions about this process of the people involved in these areas, customers, suppliers, etc. Listen for common threads. Undoubtedly, you'll uncover an opportunity or two, low hanging fruit and the like.
If you are "in" the process, take a step back and think about the inputs and outputs of your process. Of all the items on your to-do lists and priorities of customers (both internal and external), which inputs really matter — and are NEEDED to gain the right outputs (results)? Answering this question can be the 80/20 to success.